Story Behind the Stores: Tara overcomes her past with help from Goodwill

Tara struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for 20 years. During that time, she was charged with driving under the influence five times and was in and out of jail as a result. She also had three children, but because of her addiction, she hasn’t always had custody of them.

Tara moved from her home state of Alabama to Paducah to “start fresh” after a divorce, which is when she was charged with her most recent DUI and lost custody of her now 8-year-old daughter.

That’s when Tara knew she had to make a change.

“Enough was enough,” she said. “I couldn’t bear to lose the only child I actually had. So, I took myself into treatment.”

Tara currently resides at her sixth treatment center, the Halfway House of Volunteers of America. Within four months, she was able to regain custody of her youngest child. And she’s now 10 months clean.

The VOA also referred Tara to us at Goodwill. Tara started at our Northfield location in December. Since then, she quickly was promoted to team lead and helped prepare the store for its 5,000-square-foot expansion, which was recently completed.

She’s gotten her license back for the first time since 2008, and she’s even utilized our Good Smiles program, which offers up to $5,000 per year for dental work not covered by insurance.

“I’ve got all new teeth and a brand-new smile,” she said. “I was very appreciative of that. It made me feel a lot better about myself.”

Now, Tara is an assistant manager preparing to open our new Second Chance Outlet in South Louisville. She’s doubled her pay in five months and said she’s so grateful for the opportunity to prove herself.

“I didn’t know (Goodwill) had all those programs. I had no idea they helped so much with addicts, reentry programs from prison and just giving me an opportunity to be more than just an addict. … Because nobody ever wants to give you a chance. They see your background and they just shut the door right there. But with Goodwill, they don’t look at that as a barrier. That’s why they’re here.

“They’re letting me overcome my past,” she said.

Tara said she never thought she’d be a successful parent, much less a success in the workforce. But now, she is both. Her manager at the Second Chance Outlet believes she can one day run her own store.

“I never thought I’d be anything other than a drug addict. And now, I’m having opportunities to be a mother and a provider,” she said.

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